A New York Candidate Trifecta

OK, folks, it's official. There will be three presidential candidates (two major party and one indy), and they will all be from New Yawk.

Of course, it's not yet official, official. But with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's jettisoning of his second major party affiliation last night, the odds are increasing for a New York trifecta.

Candidate by candidate, let's take stock with the caveat that polls at this point in a presidential race are as meaningful as a promise of victory in Iraq from Vice President Dick Cheney. In the Democratic field, Sen. Hillary Clinton's recent pull-ahead is decimating presumed rival Sen. Barack Obama. Obama still offers virgin appeal (most likely voters don't know where he stands on most issues). But this week's USA Today/Gallup Poll gives Clinton a 39 percent to 26 percent lead over Obama "if the Democratic primary races were decided tomorrow." Clinton has handed a presumed victory to Obama in the fundraising race for this quarter, but the fact is both Democratic contenders are so fat with cash that a bit more for Obama is not as important at this point as Clinton's runaway standing in the polls.

In the Republican race, true, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani looked stronger a few weeks ago. Giuliani's limelight status was dimmed by the noncandidate candidacy of former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. But the only thing relatively certain about the Republican field at this point is that Sen. John McCain is entering "goner" status. And Giuliani still qualifies as a strong "comer."

I was most impressed several weeks ago when a religious conservative friend told me she was going to support Giuliani, as were many of her arch conservative cohorts, because they see Giuliani as the Republican with the best credentials on "security." (As an aside, I don't get it. What did Giuliani do to win strong credentials on security, other than run around ground zero sporting a New York Yankees cap?)

Then there's Bloomberg's decision last night to cut ties to the GOP, mirroring his "nakedly opportunistic" (source: NY Magazine) decision to abandon lifelong ties to the Democrats so he could run for mayor of New York and win as a Republican in 2001. Remember, he cut his Democratic ties only after losing the Democratic primary. So clearly he sees the '08 Republican field as overcrowded and wants a distinct chunk of real estate whence he can distinguish himself and seriously take on fellow former New York Mayor Giuliani.

So, New Yawkas, bring it on!

By Bonnie Erbe